Who Will Save the Children?

Friday, June 22nd, 2018 @ 6:48AM

We witnessed an unprecedented display of callous disregard for the welfare of children by Donald J. Trump who is willing to psychologically damage thousands of children to get his xenophobic policies enacted in Congress. The trauma these children are experiencing after literally being ripped from the arms of mothers and fathers will haunt them for a lifetime. They have been scattered all over the country—some airlifted thousands of miles from their parents. We are talking about babies and “tender age shelters.” We have as the leader of our government a man who believes he is accountable to no one. He is surrounded by feckless sycophants in his cabinet and spineless Republicans in Congress.

Times are always perilous for children. They are the most vulnerable humans on the planet. They depend on the nurturing of caring parents and the good will of society to have a productive life. For too many children—even in this most affluent of societies—life is burdensome. The United States—the richest country on the planet, home to 574 billionaires and 2,183 millionaires—has 14 million children (19% of all children) living in families with incomes below the federal poverty line. Of those in poverty, 44 percent (6.2 million) live in deep poverty—below half of the poverty line—$12,169.50 for a family of four with two children. We witnessed over the past several decades how the War or Drugs and mass incarceration wreaked havoc on thousands of children who parents were swept up and sent to prison in the effort to get tough on crime. Now the opioid crisis is having a similar effect as more children are being placed in foster care. According to a report in The Hill newspaper, states with the highest levels of opioid abuse have seen their foster care and state care populations increase 15 to 30 percent in the last four years. More trauma being inflicted on children.

According to Kids’ Share, the federal government spends about 10 percent of its budget on children. That percentage is expected to decline to 7.5 percent over the next decade as spending on Social Security and Medicare increases. In 2017, the United States ranked 17th among educational systems in the world. We have fallen out of the top 20 in the first quarter rankings for 2018. Education Secretary Betsy Devos continues to wage war on public schools as a front in the culture war’s effort to advance religious education. Plans are underway by the Trump Administration to merge the Department of Education with the Department of Labor—further reducing spending on schools.

It was truly Machiavellian for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reach for the bible to invoke a passage of scripture that would justify the pernicious Trump policy of separating children from their mothers and fathers. If you watch the video, you will see a devilish grin on his face as he read the passage from the book of Romans suggesting the Trump presidency was ordained by God and his policies should be obeyed. It was the same passage often used to justify the subservience of slaves. Those who know the bible would redirect him to Luke 17:2 which states: “It were better for him that a millstone were (sic) hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”

We must endure two-and-a-half years more of President Trump. He can and will do much damage to the country, its institutions and our standing in the world. Perhaps some damage can be mitigated should Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives and can provide the checks and balances intended by the Constitution. I recall when I first learned of the election of Mr. Trump, I predicted his presidency would be a clown show. But even for me, I find his ability to prevaricate and obfuscate breathtaking—not so much in its cunning but by his brazen cavalier attitude about telling bald-faced lies. I am dismayed so many Americans have decided to cast their lots with this snake oil salesman. In the meantime, children are being victimized. They are being traumatized. One can only wish there is a special place in hell for those who would persecute children and other vulnerable people.

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